KENT, John Alexander Flying Officer, SEE DESCRIPTION, 37106 Air Force Cross RAF WWII
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KENT, F/O John Alexander (37106) - Air Force Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 2 January 1939. Born in Winnipeg, 23 June 1914; educated there. Obtained his Private Pilot License at the Winnipeg Flying Club at age 17. Appointed Acting Pilot Officer on Probation in RAF, 15 March 1935 (same time as D.K. Banks and A.L. Bocking); confirmed as Pilot Officer, 1936; as Flight Lieutenant, 15 September 1937; Acting Squadron Leader, 17 October 1940. Served at Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough as a test pilot. Posted to Photographic Development Unit, May 1940. Flew with No.303 Squadron during Battle of Britain; subsequently posted to command No.92 Squadron. In March 1941 he was appointed Chief Flying Instructor, No.53 Operational Training Unit. Returned to flying operations as Wing Commander (Flying) at Northolt, June 1941; took up similar duties as Kenley, July 1941; posted again to No.53 OTU as Chief Flying Instructor, October 1941. In December 1941 sent on lecture tour to North America early in 1942; to Air Ministry (June 1942) and then given command of Church Fenton. In September 1942 sent to Headquarters, Fighter Command as Group Captain (Training). To Mediterranean in December 1942; commanded No.17 Sector (Benghazi) to August 1943, when he took over No.234 Wing. Returned to Britain in March 1944; to No.7 (P) Flying Instructors School and then in command of No.3 (P) Advanced Flying Unit. In the postwar years he was active in British Air Forces of Occupation, at Farnborough (Chief Test Pilot), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Station Odiham and Tangmere. Retired in December 1956 to join Kelvin-Hughes Aviation Limited as sales manager; died 7 October 1985. Gave talk on BBC, 23 December 1940 and reprinted in Winged Words; author of an autobiography, One of the Few; see also Michel Lavigne, Canadian Wing Commanders (with George Brown) and Hugh Halliday, The Tumbling Sky. Chris Shores, in Aces High, records the following aerial victories: 3 September 1940, one Bf.110 destroyed plus one Ju.88 probably destroyed (Hurricane V6665); 23 September 1940, one Bf.109 destroyed and one FW.58 damaged (Hurricane V6681); 27 September 1940, one Ju.88 destroyed (Hurricane V6684); 1 October 1940. one Bf.109 destroyed plus one Bf.109 probably destroyed (Hurricane V6681); 1 November 1940, one Bf.109 destroyed (Spitfire, No.92 Squadron); 2 November 1940, two Bf.109s destroyed (separate engagements) plus one Bf.109 probably destroyed; 21 June 1941, one Bf.109 destroyed (Spitfire P8189, Northolt Wing); 27 June 1941, one Bf.109 destroyed on ground; 3 July 1941, one Bf.109 destroyed (Spitfire P8518, Northolt Wing); 20 July 1941, one Bf.109 destroyed; 7 August 1941 (one Bf.109 destroyed, Kenley Wing); 16 August 1941, one Bf.109 destroyed (Kenley Wing); 25 January 1943, one Ju.88 damaged (Hurricane DG-H of No.17 Sector). Specifically listed in AFRO 1292/41 dated 7 November 1941 as a Canadian in the RAF who had been decorated as of that date. Recommendation dated 23 September 1938 (prepared by W/C M. McEntegart, Commanding Officer, Experimental Section, Royal Aeronautical Establishment) in Public Record Office, Air 2/9315: Flying Officer Kent has, during the last six months, made approximately 60 flights involving collision with a wire cable in connection with the special defence experiments being carried out at this Establishment. The experiment is one which is accompanied by a considerable element of risk to the pilot and calls for determination and a high degree of skill in piloting. Flying Officer Kent has at all times carried out these duties in a most efficient manner. He is fully aware of the nature of the risks he is taking but has never allowed this in any way to diminish the marked willingness and zeal with which he carries out these duties. Also on 23 September 1938, A.H. Hall (Chief Superintendent, Royal Aeronautical Establishment) supported this with the following remarks: I endorse the remarks above. As far as comparisons are possible I regard the work done by Flying Officer Kent as being at least as difficult and trying as work done in previous years for which awards have been made. On 1 November 1938 A/C Roderick Hill (Director of Technical Developments) added: I fully endorse the recommendation of the Officer Commanding, Experimental Section and the Chief Superintendent, Royal Aeronautical Establishment. I consider Flying Officer Kent has shown gallantry and determination in experimental flying which has not only set a fine example, but has produced very valuable results. I consider him suitable for the award of the Air Force Cross. KENT, F/L John Alexander (37106) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.303 Squadron - awarded as per London Gazette dated 25 October 1940. Early in October 1940 this officer when entirely alone, attacked 40 Messerschmitt 109s and shot down two of them. He has personally destroyed at least four enemy aircraft. Flight Lieutenant Kent has been responsible in a large measure for the fighting efficiency of his squadron and has materially contributed to its successes. He has proved himself a born leader. KENT, F/L John Alexander (37106) - Virtuti Militare, 5th Class - awarded as per London Gazette dated 16 January 1941. KENT, W/C John Alexander (37106) - Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross - Kenley Wing awarded as per London Gazette dated 21 October 1941. The following is from Royal Air Force Quarterly, December 1941. This officer has led his wing in an efficient and fearless manner on many operational sorties within the last two months. He hahs now destroted a further six enemy aicraft, bringing his total success to thirteen destroyed and three probably destroyed. Wing Commander Kent has set a grand example.